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What Can I Wear?

What Can I Wear?

 CHAPTER 11

What Can I Wear?

Heather is ready to walk out the door, and her parents can’t believe their eyes.

“You’re wearing that?” her dad blurts out.

“Why not?” Heather replies, sounding astonished. “I’m just going to the mall with friends.”

“Not in that outfit!” her mom says.

“But Mom,” Heather whines, “this is what all the kids are wearing. And besides, it makes a statement!”

“Well, we don’t like what it’s stating!” Dad shoots back. “Now go upstairs and change, young lady, or you’re not going anywhere!”

 WARDROBE wars are nothing new. Your parents may have fought similar battles with their parents when they were your age. And back then, they probably felt the same way you feel today! But now they’ve switched sides, and the issue of what you can wear causes one skirmish after another.

You say: It’s comfortable.

They say: It’s sloppy.

You say: It’s so adorable!

They say: It’s so provocative.

You say: It’s half price.

They say: It should be. . . . Half of it is missing!

Is there any way to declare a cease-fire? Yes! Megan, 23, has learned the secret. “There doesn’t have to be an argument,” she says. “There can be an agreement.” Agreement? Does that mean you have to dress like a 40-year-old? Relax! To agree just means that you and your parents discuss your differences and brainstorm other options that they​—and you—​can be happy with. The benefits?

1. You’ll look your best, even to your peers.

2. Your parents will be less likely to criticize what you wear.

3. After seeing how responsible you are in this area, your parents may even grant you other freedoms.

So let’s get started. Think of a “must-have” outfit that you’ve spotted online or at the store. The first thing to do is . . .

Consider Bible Principles

The Bible says surprisingly little about dress. In fact, you  could read all the Scriptural admonition that directly relates to the subject in just a couple of minutes! In that time, though, you would find solid, valuable guidelines. For example:

● The Bible advises women to adorn themselves “with modesty and soundness of mind.” *​—1 Timothy 2:9, 10.

The word “modesty” might make you worry. ‘Do I have to wear a sack?’ you may wonder. Not at all! In this context, modesty means that your clothes show you have self-respect and consideration for others’ feelings. (2 Corinthians 6:3) A wide variety of clothing fits those criteria. “It might be challenging,” says Danielle, 23, “but you can be fashionable without wearing extreme styles.”

● The Bible says that when it comes to appearance, you should focus on “the secret person of the heart”​—or, as Today’s English Version renders it, “your true inner self.”​—1 Peter 3:4.

An immodest outfit may momentarily turn heads, but it’s your inner beauty that will win the long-term respect of adults and your peers. Your peers? Yes​—even they may see the folly of excessive styles. “It’s sickening to see  the way women practically throw themselves at men by what they wear!” says 16-year-old Brittany. Kay would agree. Describing a former friend, she says: “Everything she wore had ‘look-at-me’ written all over it. She wanted the attention of the guys, and to get it she would wear the most eye-catching outfits she could find.”

Get Your Parents’ Input

Stuffing a daring outfit into your backpack and changing into it at school is not the way to go. You’ll gain more trust from your parents if you’re open and honest with them, even in things that you think you could get away with. In fact, you’d probably do well to seek out their opinion when you’re considering an outfit. (Proverbs 15:22)​—Use the “Wardrobe Worksheet” on pages 82 and 83.

 But why would you want to ask for their opinion? Isn’t it your parents’ job to stifle your fashion sense? Not really. True, your dad and mom’s perspective may be different from yours, but sometimes that’s what you need. “I appreciate my parents’ advice,” says 17-year-old Nataleine, “because I don’t want to walk out of the house embarrassing myself or to be the one that people are talking about negatively because of my appearance.”

Besides, let’s face it: As long as you’re under your parents’ roof, you’re under their authority. (Colossians  3:20) Still, once you understand their views​—and they, yours—​you might be surprised at how often you can come to an agreement. As a result, the wardrobe wars may finally be over!

Fashion Tip: When trying on clothing, think of more than what you see in the mirror. A seemingly modest outfit may change when you sit down or bend over to pick up something. If possible, get the opinion of a parent or a mature friend.

IN OUR NEXT CHAPTER

Are you your own worst enemy? What can you do if you just don’t like yourself?

[Footnote]

^ par. 23 While such Biblical admonition is directed to women, the principles apply to both genders.

KEY SCRIPTURE

“Do not let your adornment be that of . . . the wearing of outer garments, but let it be the secret person of the heart.”​—1 Peter 3:3, 4.

TIP

Avoid styles that highlight sexuality. They make you appear desperate and self-absorbed.

DID YOU KNOW . . . ?

The first impression you make often depends on what you’re wearing.

ACTION PLAN!

The family member or mature friend I could consult about a clothing item I would like to buy is ․․․․․

The next time I purchase an outfit, I will consider the following factors: ․․․․․

What I would like to ask my parent(s) about this subject is ․․․․․

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

● Why do parents and adolescents often clash over matters of clothing?

● What skills can you acquire by discussing clothing issues with your parents?

[Blurb on page 81]

“When I see girls wearing sleazy clothes, my respect for them decreases. On the other hand, when I see people wearing modest yet cute clothing, I think to myself, ‘That’s how I want people to see me.’”​—Nataleine

 [Box/​Pictures on pages 82, 83]

Worksheet

Wardrobe Worksheet

Instructions: Copy these pages. Ask your parents to fill out the worksheet on the right while you fill out the one on the left. Later, swap worksheets with your parents, and discuss your answers. Are there any surprises? What did each of you learn about the others’ perspective that you didn’t know before?

For You Think about a particular outfit that you want to wear or purchase.

Why do you like this particular outfit? Number the factors below in order of your priority.

․․․․․ Brand name

․․․․․ Appeal to the opposite sex

․․․․․ Acceptability to peers

․․․․․ Comfort

․․․․․ Price

․․․․․ Other ․․․․․

My parents’ initial reaction to this outfit will probably be

□ “No way!”

□ “Maybe.”

□ “No problem.”

If they object, the most likely reason would be

□ “It’s too provocative.”

□ “It’s too sloppy.”

□ “It’s too trendy.”

□ “It reflects badly on us as your parents.”

□ “It’s too expensive.”

□ Other ․․․․․

Can We Work  Together on This?

What merit can I see in my parents’ view?

․․․․․

What, if anything, can be done to make the garment acceptable?

․․․․․

For Your Parents Think about a particular outfit that your adolescent wants to wear or purchase.

Why, do you think, does your child like this outfit? Number the factors below according to what you think are his or her priorities.

․․․․․ Brand name

․․․․․ Appeal to the opposite sex

․․․․․ Acceptability to peers

․․․․․ Comfort

․․․․․ Price

․․․․․ Other ․․․․․

My initial reaction is

□ “No way!”

□ “Maybe.”

□ “No problem.”

The reason why I might object would be

□ “It’s too provocative.”

□ “It’s too sloppy.”

□ “It’s too trendy.”

□ “It reflects badly on us as your parents.”

□ “It’s too expensive.”

□ Other ․․․․․

Can We Work Together on This?

Is our objection to this outfit merely a matter of our personal taste?

□ Yes □ Possibly □ No

What, if anything, can be done to make the garment acceptable?

․․․․․

The Decision ․․․․․

[Box on page 84]

What About Boys?

Bible principles discussed in this chapter apply to boys too. Be modest. Let your secret person of the heart​—your true inner self—​shine through. When considering an item of clothing, ask yourself: ‘What will it say about me? Does that “statement” reflect who I really am?’ Remember, clothing is a form of expression. Make sure that your clothes reflect the ideals you believe in!

[Picture on page 80]

Your clothing is like a sign that tells people all about you. What does your “sign” say about you?